Homemade pasta is simple & delicate- make this to impress your family, friends, and even yourself.
Fresh pasta does not get the attention it deserves. The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic brought us countless news stories about banana bread and homemade bread, but no pasta. It’s rude honestly. Making pasta yourself is cheaper and far less processed than boxed varieties. You need four ingredients and don’t need to dress it up unless you want to. I’ve had many nights where I toss it into some olive oil with fresh parm and classify it as a gourmet dish.
For this fresh pasta tutorial…
I’m going to walk you through five shapes/types of pasta. Fettuccini, tagliatelle, mezzelune, caramelle, and tortellini (fair warning, these tortellini are a little sad looking).
*This is not for extruded pasta shapes. Do not use this dough in an extruder unless you want to spend days picking pasta out of the crevasses of your machine, click here for my extruder dough recipe.*
I use my Kitchen Aid to roll the dough out, but if you don’t have one its completely fine (the attachments are kind of expensive also, but if you’re going to do this a lot I do recommend them). Grab a rolling pin and you’ll have the same results-and its more homemade.
If you’re using your Kitchen Aid, I’m going to caution you against using it to mix the dough. Please don’t. Your mixer can technically handle it, but the noise it makes is going to stress you out if you’re anything like me. Mix this dough by hand on your counter. You need to feel it to understand the dough and judge if you need more/less flour.
Let’s get started, here’s what you need :
- 300 grams OO flour (if you don’t have OO, all purpose is fine but stay away from heavily processed flour brands)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (good quality, you’re going to be able to taste it)
- 1 Tbsp water
- 3 whole eggs
- Rolling pin or Kitchen Aid pasta attachment
What is OO flour?
It is an Italian classification (for Italian flours). This is the most commonly used flour for making pasta, it is milled finer and feels “softer”.
Clean your work surface. You’re going to be eating this. Lay out the flour as shown, creating a “well” in the center. Add your eggs, water, and olive oil. Combine it by hand, and form a ball as shown below. The dough should be pliable, but not sticky. If you pinch it between your fingers it should return to its shape once you release it. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover for at least 30 minutes. Use an airtight container for this, this stage allows the dough to rest and it will dry out if it is left to the open air.
While the dough is resting, let’s get set up. You want to be prepared with a floured surface to lay the sheets on. I use these silicone baking mats, they’re really nice to flour and cut on. Secure your rolling attachment or set up a surface for rolling with a rolling pin.
This next step is important for uniformity. Cut the disc into four equal sections. Take one, and re-cover the other three. Flatten it in your floured hands slightly, and run it through the roller on level 1 (first image). Fold it into thirds and then run it back through (second image), so that it ends up being a rectangle. From this stage, run it through each level until your desired thickness.
How do you know when it’s thin enough? I use the classic pasta test. Can I read through it? You want it pretty thin, fresh pasta takes on a lot of water once it’s cooked (also, you should read The Alchemist).
So now you have your rolled out sheets. This is the fun part. Let’s make fettuccini first. For this I’m using my Kitchen Aid attachment. Don’t get me wrong, this pasta has it’s place. I personally don’t like it because its too straight and “perfect” looking. I like my pasta to have character. Just run the sheet through the pasta cutter on speed 2, making sure it is well floured. That’s it. Hang it to dry on a rack or lay it flat. I usually hang it.
Tagliatelle is a hand cut pasta. I use my little pasta wheel for these, but a pizza cutter works just as nicely. Don’t cut the strips evenly, they should vary (and you probably won’t get them even anyways). I like this pasta best with creamy sauces, like a roasted garlic cream sauce.
Next up is my personal fav, mezzelune. Typically, I stuff these with a mushroom filling (my favorite recipe here!) and toss it in a parmesan cream sauce. These look more complicated but really aren’t. Take your rolled sheet and spoon a teaspoon of filling along the center. Fold the dough in half and press on it lightly, making sure there are no air pockets. Using a cookie cutter or pizza cutter, cut them into half-moons (mezzelune).
This next shape is fun, and best suited for firmer fillings (think meats, or a fig filling). It’s called caramelle pasta, because it’s shaped like a wrapped candy. You need to cut rectangle about 3″ long and 1.5″ thick for this. Spoon a teaspoon or less of filling, and twist the ends as if you’re wrapping candy.
Last but certainly not least, we have tortellini. Everyone loves tortellini. This shape can be stuffed with meat, cheese, or veggies. You’re going to cut it out just like the mezzelune, and then make the pasta give itself a hug (he’s been in quarantine too long).
The stuffed pastas mention in this tutorial are generally best served with light sauces. Brown butter and sage sauce is one of my go-to recipes.
Wow, look at you. Did you just get back from Italy? You’re so impressive. I hope that you made one of these and feel like a pro now. Practice makes perfect, and pasta is wildly fun to play around with. Plus, with ingredients that are so inexpensive you can afford a few mishaps.
Questions? Leave me a comment!
- Pasta roller (Kitchen Aid or other)
- 300 grams OO Flour
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- Weigh flour and place on working surface. Make a well in the center of the flour.
- Places whole eggs, water, and olive oil in well.
- Combine ingredients with your hands, feeling the dough come together. Add more water if the mixture is too dry or more flour if too wet (will vary based on humidity).
- Knead for 3 minutes and form into a ball. Flatten slightly into a disc and place in an airtight container (I use reusable snack bags for this, but used to use plastic wrap)
- Allow to rest for 30 minutes and then form into whichever shape you please!